Blogging through The Feminine Mystique

feminine mystique

The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan. Originally published in 1963. Hardcover. 592 pages.

In an effort to be less inclined to have strong opinions about things I know little about yet have the ability to know more about, I have decided  there are a few books I should read for myself. These are the books that are referred to frequently by people for ideological reasons to promote their agendas. The kinds of books where the sum total of the view being presented is forever cemented in our minds based on the 10 well worn quotes that we’ve all read hundred of times over the years.

One book I decided to read -and blog through- is Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. I don’t expect reading it to alter my perspective, conviction, or beliefs regarding feminism. In fact, I am certain that it won’t. The results on the experiment of radical feminism are in, and they speak for themselves.

What I am most interested in is dichotomous experiences to the women Friedan references (in her first two chapters, for instance) when compared to women in less pampered circumstances. I also want to see if Friedan noted how the Industrial Revolution, whatever it added standard of living in aggregate, drastically changed the nature of the domestic sphere and the intrinsic value it added to the bottom line in the years when our economy was more agrarian.

In other words, I want a full picture of the alignment of family life and life for women in the 1950s leading up to the time of the publication of The Feminine Mystique. Even a cursory bit of research reveals that family life for most Americans was a far cry from the television portrayal of The Andersons and The Cleavers. This was especially true for my parents and grandparents, yet we are constantly presented that narrative of the 1950s as indicative of mainstream America.

I have reasons for this interest which may or may not be revealed in 2019, but let’s see if there are any unheralded surprises -at least surprises to me- to be found in The Feminine Mystique.



9 thoughts on “Blogging through The Feminine Mystique

  1. hearthie says:

    I read that book in my early college years. Didn’t make me want to be a SAHM one bit less. I will be interested in your take and rummage up what I can remember. (Basically it sums up as, “she was bored”).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robyn says:

    Good for you in your analytical reading … I have to learn about it from secondary sources (which I’m generally not in favour of) But anything I’ve learned have come from pretty reputable sources, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. smkoseki says:

    interested in dichotomous experiences to the women Friedan references

    SMK History of the World: 1. men get rich to impress women, climax 1950 (refrig). 2. women not impressed, climax 1960 (roe-v-wade). 3. QED.

    I also want to see if Friedan noted how the Industrial Revolution drastically changed the domestic sphere

    Heh. AKA: Why women are not impressed. Hey you should write the book, not Friedan.

    …narrative of the 1950s as indicative of mainstream America.

    I think there is something real regarding the collective imagination presented on TV. We soon change our lives and laws and culture to match. I can’t just dismiss it. The only ones immune are those who have dropped out and refuse to watch TV.

    H: Basically it sums up as, “she was bored

    Heh. Nail on head. The Christian would say: note the curse of Gen 3. The Buddhist or Stoic would say: life is hard, get over it.

    Liked by 1 person

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